When looking for a healthy way to cope with negative feelings, first-year nursing student Alyssa Tallevi turned to the use of crystals.
First introduced to crystals by the women in her family, Tallevi didn’t see an immediate change when she started using them.
“I think that it definitely does come with a learning curve at first because you're trying to figure out what works best for you, you're trying to figure out kind of how it works in general,” Tallevi said.
In time, Tallevi learned that crystals can be used as a tool to get in touch with one’s self and promote positive mental health.
“I was looking for a way to cope — a way to just distract my mind in a healthy way. I think that having a place to put all the negative energy that you feel … like you are taking the weight off your shoulders and putting it into something else, I think that helps a lot," Tallevi said.
Like Tallevi, store manager of The Healing Bar, Sakura Rain, sees the metaphysical — a concept or idea outside human perception or beyond our reality — as a tool.
“For me, the reason that I started working with crystals is I was just drawn to it,” Rain said. “It was a different way of working with something, but also working with myself versus all the other methods I have been trying to cope with my mental health.”
The Healing Bar, located in West Columbia, sells all-natural soaps, wellness stones, healing crystals, tarot cards, candles, incense, books and other metaphysical products.
In terms of mental health, crystals can also act as tools to help relieve stress and negative emotions. Rain used crystals for a long time but felt as though they weren’t doing anything for her. She thought she had hit a wall, but then one day she felt inclined to start using them again, and she started to see a transformation.
“I really started meditating with the crystal, holding it on certain parts of my body (and) carrying it around with me," Rain said. "The crystal helped me tap into this part of myself that I couldn't tap into before,” Rain said.
It wasn’t an immediate change, but Rain said things slowly started making sense to her.
“I was able to work on my mental health and find better ways of coping and working through these issues until I got to a point where I was me again,” Rain said.
Rain said that while crystals do come with a learning curve, sometimes a lack of belief can prevent a person from seeing actual results.
“If someone's trying to use a crystal, but they don't really believe it or they're kind of self-doubting it or they're just leaving it on a shelf beside their bed ... and then expecting it to change their life, of course, it's not the results that you're going to see because you're not putting your own energy into it too,” Rain said.
For Rain, crystals are also a way for people to obtain energy left within this realm of being.
“Crystals are really helpful for tapping into that inner knowing, especially if you work with them, whether that be through meditation or carrying them with you or feng shui-ing with crystals around your house. I just feel like their energy helps tap into your own energy and opens up any kind of blockages,” Rain said.
"Energy" is a term that often gets thrown around in the world of crystals, but Rain said there is energy in everything.
"I believe that there's a universal lifeforce energy that flows throughout everything. In this world, whether that be trees, people, crystals, whatnot," Rain said.
Associate professor of religious studies, Dan Stuart, studies meditation practices and their history. He said crystals, whether one believes in their uses or not, contain energy.
“(The) notion of energy is much more sort of widespread, right, like crystals contain some basic sort of force,” Stuart said. “Crystals themselves have some energy … sometimes it's the crystal itself, but sometimes there's some other extra like a metaphysical being or force that gets associated right.”
Tallevi also said energy is power that can be put toward your crystals.
“Cleansing (crystals) gives them clean energy," Tallevi said. "But then there's also personal energy, there's soul energy, aura energy — there's a lot of things that come into play with that word,” Tallevi said.
As far as using the energy within crystals as a coping mechanism, Stuart said he can see why people would turn to the metaphysical.
"Humans are complicated and very complex, emotional beings," Stuart said. "Mental health is something that is still quite a mystery, but we have still a lot to understand, and that's why these kinds of old traditional practices, they've raised a lot of questions because they clearly are doing really good stuff for a lot of people."